SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) - A new study finds the production of oil and gas is contributing more to climate change than previously believed.
The research, published in the scientific journal Nature, indicates methane emissions from fossil fuel sources are between 25% and 40% higher than previously estimated.
Scientists looked at ancient air bubbles trapped in Greenland’s ice sheet.
They measured a rare radioactive isotope to work out how much atmospheric methane comes from fossil sources, as opposed to biological sources. They found that nearly half of the methane in our air comes from oil and gas production.
Methane is the main component in natural gas. It is much more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide and is responsible for about a quarter of human-caused global warming.
Researchers say steps should be taken to reduce fossil methane emissions.
The Trump administration is seeking to ease regulations that require the industry to monitor methane emissions and stop leaks.